European Commission Defends Pope After Remarks
BRUSSELS, Belgium, SEPT. 18, 2006 ( Zenit.org).- The European Commission
described as unacceptable the "disproportionate" reactions that "reject freedom
of speech," such as those expressed after Benedict XVI's words on Islam at
a German university.
"Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of the EU's values, as is respect for
all religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism or laicism," said commission
spokesman Johannes Laitenberger in a press conference today.
The spokesman pointed out that the Pope's address must be considered "in
its totality," and not react to "quotes taken out of context and even less
so" to "quotes deliberately taken out of context."
He stressed, however, that it is not for the European Commission to clarify
or interpret "the theological contribution of the Pope to a theological debate"
and he noted that the Holy See has already given explanations.
Laitenberger added that, for many years, the commission "has promoted intercultural
dialogue and encouraged interreligious debate because it considers that it
is "the best way to foment mutual understanding."